Monday, March 4, 2013

A Letter: 11 Months

Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger over at Pleasure in the Pathless Woods, a letter to Althea:

Our Baby Althea,

You are well into your second week as an 11-month-old. How is it possible? We are in full-swing birthday party planning mode and I just can't wait to celebrate all that this year has meant to me as your momma. You and I went to pick up your party invitations this morning and on the drive back home I was thinking about how there is nothing in the world that could be more important to celebrate. You have changed my life forever in ways that I may never be able to describe.

We recently went through your first illness. It sure helped me realize how fortunate we have all been so far in your life. Poor baby, you got hit pretty hard with a very high fever for four days. You were sick with cold symptoms for about 10 days! None of us were sleeping well, and my heart hurt a lot when you would cry and cry because you were uncomfortable. We got lots of cuddle in, at least.
Once you were feeling better again, you were back to your happy self and we were all so relieved and grateful. On your first day feeling better, it's like a switch flipped! You started saying dog ("duh!") and dada, pointing at everything, blowing kisses, and using your sign language for nurse, eat, and more. All of this started happening in a matter of a day. How exciting for us! We are so proud of you and this new ability to communicate is so amazing and rewarding. You love saying "duh!" and pretty much point and call everything that word. You definitely know Quincy is a "duh!" though!

You have always been advanced with your motor skills, and you took your first steps when you were about a week over 10 months. At 11 months, we are really calling it walking and we have seen you take up to 7 steps at a time. You are so brave and proud of yourself! I can't wait for walks together outside and being right beside you as you explore. It is only a matter of time, baby! Everyday is an adventure with you, and there is nothing better.
You still love to eat, which is fun for mom and dad because we have always been foodies. We are working on being more creative with the kinds of snacks we have on hand for you, and snacks that travel well when we go out and about. That is one challenge of prioritizing whole foods; sometimes those kinds of foods aren't as easy for transporting, but you love pulling your pears and apple pieces out of the food dish we have for you. So independent! Your newest love is raisins and sometimes you enjoy a few rice crackers. You also love gnawing on a cold carrot. Not without sharing with Quincy though! He even likes the carrots! We recently got a new blender and drink fruit/veggie/yogurt smoothies almost daily. You love them! We are so excited for gardening season at our house, so we can grow our own meals and share garden fresh produce with you.

The weather has been starting to get warmer and sunnier, so we go on lots of walks and have made it to the park a few times. You love riding in the BOB stroller, you zone out and just relax on our neighborhood walks. You also LOVE to swing! What a joy. Your face lights up and you giggle and smile with the wind on your face. We found a lovely park within walking distance of our house, and I see lots of picnics there in our future.

 You are well on your way to toddlerhood. Wow. Your dad and I ask each other everyday how we got so lucky. A frequent conversation that we have in our family is something like "I love her more everyday. Isn't she amazing?" "Can you believe we made her? How is it possible she even exists?" "I can't remember what life was like without her." Sometimes I wonder how it was possible life had any meaning before you. You bring so much joy to our hearts and your daddy and I love working as a team to be your parents. There are so many smiles at our house everyday.

I am working on a photo book in honor of your first birthday. Of course I have thousands of photos of your first year. When I look at photos of you as a newborn, my heart aches a little for that time. It went by so fast. I do miss my maternity leave sometimes, because it was a slower time where I was more able to soak up every moment with you. It is hard to believe how much we have experienced as a family of 3 since last year. There is nothing better than watching you grow and learn and with us as your role models. It is always my goal to cherish every moment. There is a renewed inspiration for me in life to be the best person I can be. I can see the world through your eyes now, and that brings me so much gratitude. I simply can't wait to see what the next year holds.

I love you always, Althea!